“All great architecture is the design of space that contains, exalts, or stimulates the persons in that space”, so said American architect Philip Johnson. Quite so, but The Rake likes to think that it is not just architecture, but good design in all forms which can exalt or stimulate – particularly fine menswear design.
Which leads us to Reda Slaoui, a new luxury French brand that has been some four hard years in the making. Founded by brothers Tarek and Reda Slaoui, two chaps that have long shared a passion for contemporary design, things that are well made, and a will to express themselves with their clothes. Reda was an architect for many years, prior to establishing Reda Slaoui, and an appreciation of architectural forms and techniques informs everything that the maison now undertakes. “We had wanted to create a menswear brand that reflected our joint approach to design for some time, and also to follow our own path and our own values. We were likewise inspired by the ‘savoir faire’ and quality of workmanship that we have at our fingertips, which often is admired more overseas than it is in our native France.”
This savoir faire primarily takes the form of a rather chic collection of neckties. Reda Slaoui’s signature is its contemporary graphic silk jacquards with strong contrasts in colour and sharp-edged patterns that feel thoroughly dynamic – one can’t help but envision Marinetti or Boccioni distributing Futurist pamphlets wearing them. The maison’s ties are generally constructed as three-folds, beautifully slip-stitched and lightly pressed in France. The ties use a dense woollen interlining for a full, well-rounded feel and recover beautifully after a day of use. The house’s ties are offered in three different widths, to suit different physiques – with 7, 8 and 9 centimetre blades – and because, as Tarek notes, “beauty and proportion have always been linked – we all wear different shirt collars and different jacket lapels.”
The search for a mill that could produce the kinds of jacquards that Reda Slaoui wanted to use was a long and much obsessed over process; after many trials and finding help in the pages of The Rake no less, established a partnership with one of the best silkweavers in England. In Reda Slaoui’s ties then, you’ll find a compelling blend of the finest English silk and French hand-craftsmanship, all of which are realised with a thoroughly contemporary aesthetic, as Tarek explains.
“We believe that our work should reflect the times that we live in. All the artistic disciplines we have apply to our designs have been influenced by the advent of modern art. Great artists such as Vassily Kandinsky, Josef Albers, Paul Klee or Mark Rothko, have changed the way that we understand forms and colours in our contemporary world.”